Amazon says Black Lives Matter while selling surveillance tech to police, Mark Zuckerburg defends his do-nothing approach to Trump’s offensive tweets, and the show goes on for CES 2021.
It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Friday, June 5, and I’m your host, Baneet Braich.
Demonstrations for racial injustice continue in the United States and while American companies are responding with tweets about supporting protests, most people remain skeptical about the outreach and view these messages as simply good PR. Amazon recently tweeted in support of social justice and equitable policing, but social media was quick to point out a 2018 article published by the American Civil Liberties Union highlighting how Amazon’s facial recognition software was fundamentally racially biased. How? It disproportionately misidentified black members of Congress as criminals who and had their mugshot in a police database. Privacy researcher Liz O’Sullivan spoke to The Intercept and saying “Surveillance is a racial justice issue, “The two cannot be separated.”
Mark Zuckerburg is also facing backlash from former employees who say more needs to be done to take down offensive and racist posts. Thirty-three former Facebook employees have written an open letter arguing that Facebook’s position on moderating Trump is inconsistent, and exposes the public to danger. While Trump has tweeted posts like “when the looting starts the shooting starts,” Zuckerberg’s response has remained consistent that Facebook should not be the arbiter of truth. He admits the posts disgust him but says it does mean the president is asking vigilante supporters to take justice by their own means. However, he has told his staff that Facebook would revisit policies about states threatening the use of force.
Lastly, CES will be happening in 2021. The show will happen in January and it is planned to be in person. Strict social distancing measures will be in place. The latest reports suggest the aisles will be wider in the exhibition areas, and there will be more space between seats. Organizers say various spaces will be regularly sanitized. The consumer technology association says that major companies and brands have signed on.
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